Apple Watch could soon adjust iPhone volume based on ambient noise

Apple has been researching software solutions that would tap into a user’s Apple Watch to intelligently adjust an iPhone’s alert volume on the fly, by monitoring and comparing ambient sound samples.

A new Apple patent application published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office reveals the Cupertino company is working on a system that would allow Apple Watch to automatically adjust the volume on your iPhone based on ambient noise.

If the contribution is outside acceptable levels, the patent abstract explains, a wearable device can notify an iPhone to adjust its alert volume or other alert characteristics.

By comparing an alert sound recorded by a wearable device against a stored reference signal based on ambient noise samples, a sound threshold analysis algorithm would determine precise volume adjustments.

Having an Apple Watch record ambient sounds is a smart idea, argues Apple, as the device is likely to be relatively exposed to the ambient air while it is being worn.

“In some embodiments an iPhone sends a notification signal to the wearable prior to playing an audible alert,” explains AppleInsider. “The receiving Apple Watch listens for the incoming tone and compares the signal against a stored ambient noise reference signal.”

It sounds like a great idea — and one that could be very useful — but to me, it almost seems redundant to Apple Watch owner. After all, if you have an Apple Watch on your wrist, you don’t really need to hear your iPhone, because your Watch will alert you to incoming notifications.


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